Russian Sage

Ipomoea - 7b/8aJuly 1, 2000

I'm looking for a good companion for Russian sage (Perovskia). I'm planning on buying one at Lowe's and they're so big I couldn't think of anything to go with it. Does Echinacea purpurea look good alongside it?

This is a great forum isn't it?

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rosegirl7748 - 4

I planted Fastigiata Malva with my Russian Sage.The tall loose flowers of Russian Sage blend well with the tiny pink flowers of Fastigiata.I have mine highlighting a birdbath.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2000 at 12:15PM
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John Smelser - 6B

If you want a stunning fast fix for this season......
try Tithonia rotundifolia [ Mexican Sunflower. ]
I planted some for a friends children.......despite her protestations that orange was NOT a favorite color.....and we were both awestruck by the results........

Even if this color repels you......let me encourage you to consider large bold offset the delicacy of the Russian Sage.........Daylilies, Sunflowers, Datura, Hardy Hibiscus in bold colors, etc.

A shrub that looks excellent with Russian Sage is Crimson Pygmy Barberry [ Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea 'Nana' ].

Best Wishes........

    Bookmark   July 2, 2000 at 12:40PM
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janet - 8

Rudbeckia looks really good with russian sage and takes the
same conditions. Janet

    Bookmark   July 2, 2000 at 10:33PM
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Dawn G - 5

I have mine beside purple coneflower and fronted by Blue Oat Grass and Sedum 'Matrona'. Subtle, but very nice.

Dawn G.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2000 at 8:15AM
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Corollata - 4

I agree that when searching for a companion plant, contrasting form and texture, as well as color, can produce pleasing results. I use russian sage with: everblooming shrub roses and oriental/asiatic lilies, purple coneflower, tall daylilies and large sedum, also like it with 'crimson pygmy' barberry shrub and dwarf evergreens like 'mugo slowmound' or 'dwarf norway spruce' globes (both 3'Tx3'W). Happy gardening!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2000 at 2:59AM
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rosegirl7748 - 4

I also have Russian Sage planted in the middle of two Jeanne LaJoies climbing miniature pink roses.Around the bed I planted a variegated sedum called Frosty Morn.Russian Sage is one of my favorite perennials.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2000 at 6:00AM
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Rosemarie Larkin

I have been thinking of planting some russian sage among my lilies - the soft form and color should be a lovely contrast.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2000 at 12:34PM
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Bobbi - 5

Russian sage with yellow yarrow growing up through it is a striking combination.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2000 at 4:10PM
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dla - 5 to 6

Perovskia, any Echinacea purpurea variety, and Calamagrostis 'Karl Forester' look great together!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2000 at 7:48PM
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Pearl - 9

I have mine planted with orange Crocsmia (sp?). After reading all the great suggestions, I'm going to add some sunflowers too!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2000 at 3:39AM
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Dawn G - 5

Yes, definately a must with purple coneflowers. Add to that Eryngium (spelling?)alpinum!

Dawn G.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2000 at 7:50AM
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Mine are surrounded by strawberries. There are a few variegated leaved purple irises as well as chinese lantern plants. The background is a huge drift of pink to mauve flowering oregano. There was a lovely garden sage too but it didn't survive last years drought =o(

    Bookmark   July 18, 2000 at 3:17PM
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Jo - Sunset 16

Just saw a small Russian Sage potted with solid purple and white petunias - I'm trying it next year.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2000 at 2:43AM
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Gina Lapointe - 5/6 ONT

I used to have a beautiful white phlox next to my Russian Sage. They looked lovely together.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2000 at 7:18PM
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Jan - 5

Russian sage, white phlox, "clara curtis" mum and bright yellow threadleaf coreopsis look great together.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2000 at 9:34AM
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Verleen - 8

I have mine with bronze fennel- flowers are golden yellow and yarrow-like, and the bronze foliage is a great contrast with the blue as well. The fennel also attracts beneficial insects. In front I have gold- yellow daylillies, and there is some eryngium in the mix too.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2000 at 11:55AM
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Patrice - 5

I am organizing a new bed along the side of my house and was considering Russian Sage paired with Sunburst coreopsis in big blocks of color. I thought the contrasting shapes would be as interesting as the contrasting color. Will those two not only look good together but bloom around the same time and be healthy in the same soil? Or do they have conflicting care requirements? Someone told me that Russian Sage will look good through the fall and even provide a nice shape in winter snows. And Cleveland does get winter snow.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2000 at 1:41PM
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Glen Can Prairies z3

Have some of mine growing with Solidago 'Crown of Rays', both plants bloom at the same time (right now come to think of it). See middle photo at link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Solidago + Russian Sage

    Bookmark   August 9, 2000 at 6:47PM
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Brenda-IN - 5-Indiana

This is going to be my new arrangement-Russian Sage, blue Balloon Flowers, Silver mound Artemesia, Silene Schafta, and Korean violet. The veins in the leaves of the violet are the same color as the leaves on the artemesia. Hope this looks like I THINK it will, lol!

    Bookmark   August 12, 2000 at 10:36PM
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Micky - Indiana 5

My russian sage bloomed all summer with other flowers too, but this fall I have it still blooming with
Rose "Outrageous" (orangey, yellowish, hard to describe), Rose "Pat Austin" "Emily McKensie" Crocosmia, Mums(several coppery, pinkish colors) "Alma Potchke" Aster,and white reblooming "Immortality" Iris. This is a large bed and I know it sounds like a lot of color, but it is breathtaking.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2000 at 7:38PM
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W Rowland - NY 5/6

If your intention is simultaneous bloom these are all great suggestions, but I thought that I'd shake up the conversation a little by adding a different theme. Russian sage is a very xeric plant that can be used very effectively in relatively poor soil and hot dry conditions.
Thus plant companions that share these conditions but do not necessarily share the same bloom time can offer broader possibilities.

Sedums, ornamental grasses, irises, oriental poppies all have members that enjoy the same growing conditions. When I bought my russian sage the nursery suggested it as a good partner for oriental poppies, which I love. The poppy comes up full and glorious in spring just when the russian sage should be hard pruned and is quite a pitiful sight. The poppy goes dormant and disappears in summer heat, just as the russian sage is filling out. Thus the two share the same growing space-sort of two for one-each disguising the least attractive stage of the other. Many of the ornamental grasses and sedum bloom in fall just as the Russian sage and make quite a fall statement-much prettier than those blasted crysanthemums. Miscanthus "Gracillimus" has copper flowers at about 5-6 feet which make a glorious backdrop for the Russian sage, especially when underplanted with a purple leaf sedum like "Vera Jameson" or "Bertram Anderson", or "Dragon's Blood" or even a taller form like "Arthur Branch".

I especially enjoy the contrast between the large spiky iris foliage and the finely cut Russian Sage, even though they flower at opposite ends of the year. The Russian Sage benefits from the bold presence and reflective surfaces of the iris.

Another rarely used alternative is Hummingbird Trumpet (Zauschneria). This is a fall blooming xeric plant with orange flowers that is more commonly seen in the west but is hardy in the east if given excellent drainage-thus shares the growing conditions of the Russian Sage and has the bonus of attracting hummingbirds. See

Also consider the deeper colored nepetas for the same reason.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2000 at 9:51AM
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Here's a pic (not very good I'm afraid but you'll get the idea) of russian sage with variegated irises and oregano with rudbeckia and sunflowers in the distance

    Bookmark   October 19, 2000 at 8:25AM
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bdhe(z5 MI)

Consider Russian sage with Black-eyed-Susans, mums, blazing stars and sedums.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2001 at 8:59AM
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Andrea 9

I planted and staked 3- 6" pots of russian sage a month ago. But they don't seem to be growing much, and the new buds are dropping off fast, leaving flowerless stems.

The lawn area is rather windy. Could that be the problem?
Would appreciate for any suggestions.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2001 at 12:49AM
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mona whyte

How do you divide a russian sage plant

    Bookmark   September 8, 2001 at 12:18PM
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Kate 7

I grow mine with a red bee balm ('Jacob Kline'), yellow daylilies, golden yarrow, silver artemesia, red nasturtiums, and the dark purple sweet potato vine.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2001 at 11:27PM
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Pearl 9/Bay Area, CA

I too have my Russian Sage with orange crocosmia. I seem to have two types (crocosmia, that is), a spring blooming and a summer blooming. The spring type is good because it's foliage and blooms are at their height when the Russian Sage has been chopped back. Then the summer blooming type steps in and blooms while the Russian Sage hits its stride.
I have also seen Russian Sage with Gaura. It's very effective from far away; gives a very airy feel.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2001 at 7:22PM
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pondwelr(z5 WI)

I am posting to this forum primarily to reinforce what we all know about the inter-relationships of plants. Last year, my nephew complained that he got few and flavorless tomatoes. He lives in a rental side-by-side duplex. Only works a very small 3ft by 8ft area to grow tommies and peppers. Last year, no one put out flowers, so---no bees, little polination, and poor fruit production for his crop. I suggested he work leaves and compost into his narrow bed, and started plants of russian sage for him to plant nearby. I'll also send along sage (may night) and thyme. All attract bees and are no/care little/care plants.
Sometimes great companion plants are not so much a matter of beauty, as of common sense. Russian sage is a winner on all points. And, I hope you all welcome the bees!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2001 at 7:20PM
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Is Russian Sage supposed to be pruned, and if so, when is the right time to do it? I have two in my yard, one of which I transplanted from the back to join the one in my front garden the end of last summer. Hope it has survived the transplant and this terribly cold, cold winter.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2003 at 11:43PM
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I have a Sunset Hyssop planted on one side and the tall yellow yarrow on the other.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2003 at 1:53PM
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Rachel_in_WTexas(z8 Texas)

Speaking of western/desert plants, here in West Texas I just bought three russian sages for the front slope which has lava rock as a mulch, and I thought I'd arrange them randomly and put shrubs on the front (street side) and back of the cluster (house side). So far I've gotten these desert shrubs: an orange flowering Flame Acanthus (Anisacanthus quadrifidus) which is a hummingbird attractor and grows to four feet. Another is a velvet leafed cassia (Senna lindheimeriana) which has wonderfully soft leaves and gets yellow flowers, grows to three feet. The third is a Black Dalea (Dalea frutescens) which has a wonderful delicate foliage and pink/purple flowers, I think it'll be four feet tall. I think the orange and the blue and pink/purple will look great together, and scattering some fall yellow daisy type wildflowers around the bushes would set them off. I'll get two cassias on the other side, closer to the house to feel the leaves. They all bloom in the same season, and all the foliage is different so I think the combination will be neat. We'll see...

There are also some yellow flowering prickly pear cactus plants there so that shape will be dramatic against these shrubs. Hope so...

I've read somewhere that everything goes with Russian Sage, might have been in a Lauren Springer book, can't remember. I've just discovered her writings and really enjoy them, especially her views on combining. stunning photographs too...


    Bookmark   April 29, 2003 at 12:10AM
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maine_kate(Zone5 So.Maine)

Re: pruning. I prune mine heavily in early spring, down to a few inches. It always rebounds.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2003 at 2:49PM
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I prune my Russian sage early spring although they have grown well unpruned.
Re tranplanting. Late July this year I had to transplant 3 Russian sages just about the time they were starting to bloom. They went into severe shock for the first couple weeks but I watered them constatantly and the little hardy darlings actually made it and are still blooming.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2003 at 6:35AM
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Yes, in response to the previous follow-up, they are difficult to transplant, let alone divide. But water often (make sure soil drains well), and they will do well.

Companions. I put them throughout the garden, because the deer don't eat them. Coreopsis vert. 'Moonbeam with Malva fastiagata look great with Perovskia (an idea from White Flower Farm); next to Berberis thun. 'Crimson Pygmy' or any other red-leaved Barberry. Echinacea (cone flowers), either pink or white, are good companions. So are late-blooming Leucanthemums (daisies) with Salvia s. 'May Night' and/or Delphinium grandiflorum 'Blue Butterfly'. Liatris 'Kobold' is good, too.

You might be getting the idea here that Perovskia a. goes with almost anything. It almost does.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2004 at 6:38PM
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i have my russian sage planted with pink cobbity daisys,white shasta daisys,purple asters 2 different kinds,artemesia,and another grey plant whos name escapes me at the moment,and at the other end of the garden is a hardenbergia that blooms beautifully every winter,which i trained into a tree.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2004 at 12:33AM
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I planted russian sage among double pink phlox and coneflower, and I have to prune it so it doesn't get too leggy. I do this in early spring with the usual cleanup.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2004 at 11:08AM
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flowersandthings(MidAtlantic 6/7)

I don't like purple with purple...... another silver leafed plant would be nice like lamb's ears or lavender or for contrast a yellow flowered plant...... if you want more soothing tones white flowers would be useful...... :)

    Bookmark   June 24, 2004 at 10:12PM
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Marianna_MI(5 (6-ish) MI)

I have a couple of Russian sages in my south-facing garden. They bloom quickly and then fade off... usually within about two weeks. Aren't they supposed to bloom for a longer time than that? I've seen Russian sage going all summer long in some people's gardens. Mine are in a good south-facing area of my garden, and they're getting a good 10 hours of sun a day. Good drainage... What should I change to keep them going?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2004 at 1:36PM
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We just returned from Santa Fe where the Russian Sage was blooming everywhere! Will it do well in my Phoenix xeriscape? Should I wait until October to plant some?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 9:40PM
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jennegardens(z5 NY)

Butterfly blue Delphinium
Butterfly Weed
Black Eyed Susan
Phlox in orange and hot pink hues
Miscanthus zebra grass
Red Hot Poker

    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 2:19PM
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galsal2(z6 Central PA)

My Russian sage faded into the alley and neighbor's driveway so I am looking for something to be background for it. It can't be too big because the bed is only 3 ft. wide. I had thought of weigela, either a green-leaved kind or "Wine and Roses". Any Suggestions?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2004 at 5:48PM
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